Monday, April 30, 2007

Hedden Park Hike

The weather got really nice a couple Saturdays ago, so Kenji and I went on our first real hike of the season with our friend, Jason, who organizes the NJ Young Hikers MeetUp group. This hike was an easy one around Hedden Park in Dover. I think we hiked somewhere around five or six miles. It was mostly level terrain, so it didnʻt take us very long.

There was a nice waterfall along the way, but I forgot to take my camera out of the car so I didnʻt get a picture of it. Looking at the photos Jason took, it appears he didnʻt take a good picture of it either. But hereʻs a little bit smaller waterfall that he did take a picture of.

And hereʻs the whole gang of us who came out to hike that morning:

Saturday, April 28, 2007

No more blue mule, and our first letterbox in PA

Today Kenji and I took a little drive out to visit Frenchtown and thereabouts because it was a nice day. We were sorry to learn that the big blue mule we saw the last time we were in Frenchtown is no longer there. But we did see someone else who had a blue car, just like ours:

The two pictures were taken from the same spot, 180° apart. You can tell which car is ours because of the honu on the bumper. I guess the captions are also a giveaway.

The other reason we decided to drive out to Frenchtown was to go find a letterbox hidden in Point Pleasant, PA, which is not much farther away. After crossing the Delaware into Pennsylvania, we did come across this critter going for the bird bath, and therefore we were not quite as disappointed about not seeing the blue mule.

The letterbox we found this time is located in the Point Pleasant Community Park, located alongside the Delaware River and Canal. This seems to be a favorite drop-off and/or pick-up point for kayakers, as we must have seen twenty or thrity of them coming or going in the twenty or so minutes we spent at the park. I guess thatʻs why the keeper of this letterbox named it Kayakerʻs Dream. Finding Kayakerʻs Dream was quite easy - it was hidden insdie a funky little hole in a tree.

I see that I forgot to record the date in my little log book. It oughtta say 4/28/7 next to that second stamp. The first stamp was from a letterbox we found last week in Livingston, NJ. Todayʻs was the first one weʻve found in Pennsylvania. If I had looked a little more carefully at the Letterboxing web site, I would have noticed that there are clues to another box hidden in or near Point Pleasant. Oh well - I guess thatʻs a box for a different day.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Belkin Class Action Suit

Today I received an email telling me about a class action suit against Belkin for wireless products sold between October 2002 and February 2007. I guess Belkin forgot to mention on their packaging that data transfer rates could be lower than what they claimed, so now they are being sued. We bought a couple of Belkin wireless products last year (a router and a notebook card), and it turns out they both qualify for a full refund, which will amount to just under $100.

But what I find truly amazing is that we still have the receipts, AND I was able to find them in less than 30 seconds. I am not much of a receipt-keeper, and those receipts I do keep, I donʻt usually take the time to organize.

Anyway, if you purchased any Belkin wireless products during the last five years, make sure you go check out the details of the class action suit:

  • The notice is here.
  • Settlement claim information is here.
  • The table of qualifying products and their SKUs is here.
  • The online claim form is here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tiffy Treats!

Tonight Kenji and I stopped at shoe-changer Tiffanyʻs apartment on our way home from buying kitty cat food. Tiffanyʻs plans to bake brownies had been thwarted because her brand spankinʻ new oven wouldnʻt light. The stove top burners would light ok, but not the oven. Turns out the pilot light for the oven had never been lit yet - not a problem that a little instruction manual reading and crawling around on the kitchen floor wonʻt solve, however.

So after getting Tiffanyʻs oven up and running, she was able to go ahead and make her famous Tiffy Treats!

Tiffy Treats are brownies with peanut butter and ice cream. Mmmmmm. And of course she topped off each of them with a Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie. Mmmmm Mmmmmm.

After having Tiffy Treats, I made a rope sculpture. The End.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Triangle of Shoe Changers!

According to the Gas House Gorillas, "shoe changer" is another name for the swing dancers that always show up at their gigs. Joe, Tiffany and I are a triangle of shoe changers because on the day this photo was taken, Tiffany moved into her new apartment. Her apartment happens to be about a half mile away from Joe, who who lives about a half mile away from Kenji and me, and we live about a half mile away from Tiffany. And that there makes a triangle. Of shoe changers.

On a completely different topic (but still related to this photo)... This evening Kenji and I went shopping for some new clothes now that spring has finally sprung. I just realized that the shirt Tiffany is wearing in this picture is a shirt I thought about trying on at Ann Taylor, but then decided it would probably look dumb on me. Doesn't look dumb on Tiff. Maybe it wouldn't look dumb on me, either. But the point is moot because now I definitely won't get that shirt since I already know someone else who has one. :P

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sunny Weekend, Finally

Yay! It finally stopped being rainy dreary and overcast!

Originally, Kenji and I planned to go visit my folks this weekend. Like us, they got a whole bunch of rain last week. Unlike us, they also got a whole bunch of water in their cellar as a result of all the rain. They are still cleaning up from the mess, and they said they'd really rather not have visitors this weekend, so here we are.

Therefore, instead of driving up to Massachusetts this afternoon, we took a little ride out to Chester, New Jersey. We chose Chester in part because that's where my work's offices will be moving in a couple of weeks, and I wanted to show Kenji where the new offices are. When he saw how long the commute would be, he agreed that it sucks.

But Chester is also a cute little town, so that's the other reason we decided to drive out there this afternoon. We had ice cream and visited funky little antique shops. I learned that I was born in between the "Johnny Carson: The Lonesome Hero of Middle America" and "Ecology Becomes Everybody's Issue: Monk Seals of Japan" issues of Life Magazine. The antique shop didn't have any issues for the year Kenji was born, so we can't tell you what Life Magazine had to say about life back then. Oh well.

On our way home, we passed a mini-golf place in Whippany, so we stopped and played some... mini-golf. Kenji started off as the score-keeper. He should never have let me touch the score card, since I made sure it would not be so easy to add up. You can also see that we didn't do a good job of following the rules as many of our holes went well beyond the five stroke limit. The course wasn't crowded though, so it wasn't a problem.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tiny Little Hike

Today... well, I guess by now it's really yesterday, since as I write this it's 23 minutes past midnight, although I never really consider it to be tomorrow until after I've woken up from having gone to sleep for the night... Arrgh!

Anyway, on Saturday afternoon April 14th, Kenji and I went and did a little bit of Letterboxing. If you do not know what Letterboxing is, then please go visit the link I just gave you. In short, Letterboxing is like going on little treasure hunts for rubber stamps that people hide in all sorts of places for other people to find. A more primitive version of Geocaching if you will. Kenji and I have found many letterboxes in several states, including Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and most recently, New Jersey. The letterbox we found today was at Turtle Back Rock. It was a very easy find. The picture on the right is the page in my letterboxing book where I put the stamp (lower right).

Our first clue was to follow the orange and white blaze trail to the right away from the parking lot at Turtle Back Rock Park:

The deer were not part of the clues, but we took a picture of them anyway. It looks like they are molting in preparation of warmer weather, which doesn't seem to be in any hurry to get here this year.

Anyway, after following the white/orange trail for about three tenths of a mile, we spotted the large cut stump referred to in the clue...

And the nearby rock with the number 13 painted on it...

A short ways past the 13 rock, we encountered a place where the trail passed between two large boulders, which we neglected to photograph. Immediately before the boulders, the clue instructed us to take ten steps up the hill to the left, and uncover the letterbox from beneath a pile of small rocks and leaves.

And there we have it. :)

I'm glad the clue also mentioned to look around at the rocks in the area, as they have been carved by Native Americans long ago in such a way as to resemble the markings on a turtle's back. Sadly, we might not have noticed this if I hadn't re-read the clue one last time.

From the thirty seconds of research I did about this, it seems the markings may have been meant to serve as directional guides. Thirty seconds of research really didn't produce many articles on it... only a brief mention in this one page.

So anyway, after we re-hid the letterbox and examined the carvings, we spent a few minutes playing on the rocks and looking down at the cars passing by on Northfield Avenue below. Then we left and went on our merry way. The End.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Today was a very wet day, especially at work!

Our company is preparing to move office to a new location sometime in the next two to four weeks. This is fortunate because about a week and a half ago, our current landlord decided to demolish the semi-attached building right next to ours. After taking down the building, we discovered that our exterior wall, which used to be protected by the roof that the two buildings shared, was not water-tight. But the flood we had last week was no where as bad as the one we had as a result of today's downpour, which is what you see in the picture.

We all wasted at least an hour running around trying to grab up everything that could be damaged by water and place it on high ground. Then for the next four or five hours, the gentlemen in the picture plus a few more vacuumed, pumped and shoveled water out of our office.

Looking on the bright side, as a result of this flood, I did get a most delicious helping of tiramisu for free.

I suppose you want me to explain that...

OK, fine. The flood made the kitchen all sloppy and gross so no one wanted to spend much time in there fixing their lunches. The CFO decided that we'd order out on the company's dime. I really wanted to eat the lunch I brought today, so instead of ordering a lunch, I just ordered a tiramisu for dessert. :)